Think you can work with this for your celebration this year?
Like, if yes.
Just in time for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21, comes this blogpost link forwarded from the International Center for Studies in Creativity
The Jan 30, 2012 issue of the New Yorker carries an article entitled Groupthink -The brainstorming myth (The science of team effort) by Jonah Lehrer. The intent, apparently, of the article is to debunk the myth that brainstorming is an effective creative process. Instead, the author’s hope is to convince us that we should be thinking of creativity as a social activity that needs a healthy dose of constructive criticism to be effective.
The article begins by introducing us to the work of Alex Osborn, who in the 1940s coined the term “brainstorming” and introduced it to the world through his book “Your Creative Power”. Like any pioneering idea, Osborn’s concept was fairly simple – get people together, let them generate as many ideas as possible, do not criticize, do not provide negative feedback. IDEO a premier design firm is thought of practicing this in its original form. The big problem according to Lehrer, it doesn’t work. He goes on to cite many studies: Yale study of creative puzzle solving. Groups did worse than individuals. Apparently, “Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas”.
Later in the article, he attempts to build a case for his alternative to the brainstorming myth drawing from examples of team compositions of broadway musicals, collaboration in science as evidenced by large numbers of coauthors, studio design (Pixar Animation) affording chance encounters between personnel, and the legendary Building 20 @ MIT. Along the way he is also dismissive of virtual teams (a vigorously thriving model in a world is flat environment) and long distance collaboration in general.
Here in lies the problem. The article falls prey to confirmation bias. It also becomes abundantly clear that Lehrer has not spent anytime designing or developing products under the pressures of a business environment. Most of the studies he cites were conducted in an academic setting. He devotes a significant portion of the article to Building 20 @ MIT and seems to be simply taken in by the happenings there. The issue I have here is that the story compresses the timelines in which the serendipitous encounters produced groundbreaking ideas. Real businesses can never afford those timelines to deliver products profitably. If anything, real businesses operate on creative steroids. Lehrer also seems to have missed the whole Open Source revolution or the phenomenon of crowdsourcing.
Now, back to brainstorming. Having designed multiple products and being involved in multiple problem solving scenarios, the creativity process can span the whole spectrum from brainstorming as Osborn conceived it to more nuanced, hotly debated interactions. Where you operate in the spectrum is a function of the macro or micro scope of the problem at hand. In fact, modern day usage of the term comprehends the inclusion of debate and/or feedback as part of early explorations of an idea or a solution. Merriam-Webster online defines it as
: a group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous contribution of ideas from all members of the group; also : the mulling over of ideas by one or more individuals in an attempt to devise or find a solution to a problem
To be sure, there are kernels of truth peppered around the article. But Lehrer may have done well to brainstorm his ideas with his peers to gain some validity.
There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. – Louis L’Amour
“Each one of us is a blend of life and death. In the most literal sense, our bodies always contain old cells that are dying and new cells that are emerging as replacements. From a more metaphorical perspective, our familiar ways of seeing and thinking and feeling are constantly atrophying, even as fresh modes emerge. Both losing and winning are woven into every day; sinking down and rising up; shrinking and expanding. In any given phase of our lives, one or the other polarity is usually more pronounced.”
“There is no path that goes all the way.” Hang Shen, Daoist poet.
Other names for creativity
World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) is April 15 – 21. It’s a time for you to bring your creativity into the spotlight; to use new ideas and make new decisions that make your world a bit more satisfying – without, of course, causing harm. What might you do during WCIW in 2011 make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too?
Wondering what you might do for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 in 2011 and beyond? Here’s a great idea from Team Builders Plus.
Philanthropic Team Building…Give & Get Even More Back in Return
by Andy Kraus
Despite what is going on with our current economic situation, most corporate groups understand the value of taking part in a team building activity. Goals of the team building activity have gone beyond showing appreciation, boosting morale and improving employee relationships. Many teams are utilizing the time dedicated to a team building activity as an opportunity to make a positive impact on their community.
Wheels for the World is a popular team building activity where the participants build bicycles and take part in challenges to earn the bicycle parts. The bikes are then donated to kids from United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club, to name a few, and for many of the kids, its their first bike.
There is a new outdoor philanthropic team building activity called Kindness Wins. This is no ordinary treasure hunt. Instead of searching for hidden clues or caches, teams are let loose to make a positive difference. No good deed is too small and no act of kindness goes unnoticed. Teams earn Good Karma points by holding a door open for a stranger, returning something, such as a shopping cart, to its proper place, or by using a Post-it note to make someone’s day.
There are many more acts of kindness that your team will take part in and participants will also have the opportunity to create their own symbol of generosity and giving that will serve as a reminder back at work of what they experienced on this special day.
Combining a team building program with a philanthropic activity is a win-win for everyone, functionally, spiritually and mentally.
Andy Kraus, is the Director of Team Development at Team Builders Plus, in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Other Philanthropic Team Building Ideas and Suppliers
Team Bonding offers a number of philanthropic team building activities that ‘do good’ for the team and the community. A great list to get the gist of this growing approach to building teams.
Team Buzz offers The Rookie. The main objective of this activity is for teams to grow a small investment into a big pile of money. They will do this through a range of tasks they are required to perform such as busking, creating artwork to be sold, shoe shining, and a lot more money making opportunities for the public. In the end, the money earned by teams can be donated to a charity of your own choice.
TeamBuilding Unlimited calls their philanthropic team building activities Charity Challenge. Have Your Cake and Eat it Too capitalizes on team creativity and sweet tooth and community service. Teams are challenged to design and decorate cakes to reflect their team, their company and more that will be donated to local hospitals, schools and children’s centers. TBU provides the sheet cakes, decorations and icing that teams use to create a visual and tasty masterpiece.
World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21
If you could invent a brand new charity challenge or philanthropic team building activity for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 what would it be? Ready to start creating one? What if you did?
I’ve learned something recently which is likely not news to you. When respected economists talk, people pay attention. Now that they are talking about Human Potential, there’s a chance the people factor will count in high level decision making.
Happiness economics speaks to human potential. It emerged in the early 1970s’ when economist Richard Easterlin revisited the importance of happiness in society, thereby influencing economists and those who seek their counsel to use new ideas and make new decisions to create exciting new futures. (World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 fits in this agenda. It’s purpose, since 2001, is to encourage and engage people in using their creativity – new ideas and new decisions – to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.)
What is Happiness Economics?
Seems The Economist is also helping to spread this work. Notice that cognitive diversity and emotional intelligence are on their program agenda, below.
Human Potential Conference via The Economist
Full program here
What if we could redefine chaos and uncertainty?
The modern idea of chaos—something totally without order and seemingly disruptive by nature—was formed during Roman times, when writer/philosopher Ovid chose to put his stamp on the whole idea in Metamorphosis, calling it “a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap.”
Before that, the Greek Chaos (Khaos) was less of a “void” or a mess. It was understood as a gap filled with fertile potential from which everything and anything could come.
Chaos holds a certain fascination. Within its vast, undefined gap exists every potential which could ever be. This is how this creativity professional feels. When a change occurs, sudden or planned, my first reaction is, “What’s that about?” with an eye to recognizing what is ending. The second is, “I wonder what’s next.” Third, “What potentials are presenting themselves as trumpet calls for moving forward?”
My wish is that all people feel confident drawing from C/chaos’ endless, unbounded potential in creating something new, something unknown, something possibly highly useful, delightful, intriguing or otherwise.
This is why World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15 – 21 exists. To encourage and engage people all over the world to use their creativity (new ideas and new decisions) to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.
And this is why my professional work is in creativity – to help people in organizations unleash the unlimited potential to realize successful and exciting new futures.
There’s a great opportunity to take part in a global creativity event and plant idea seeds for your World Creativity and Innovation Week celebrations April 15 – 21, happening in nine months. How serendipitous that this door is opening now, inviting you to use new ideas and make new decisions to give birth to an exciting new future, and ideas for WCIW.
Pay attention to your reactions to the announcement to participate in a global experiment to gain tremendous insights into your response to a creative proposition. If you say, no, that’s not for me, what does that mean? If you say yes, you can ask yourself what that’s about too. Are you more creative if you answer one way and not the other?
If you say no, consider what might happen if you say yes. There’s no cost involved to imagine alternative futures and to stay open to new ideas.
Life in a Day
Life In A Day is a global experiment to create a user-generated feature film: a documentary, shot in a single day, by you. On 24 July, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.
If your video is included in the final film, you’ll be credited as a co-director and may be one of 20 contributors selected to attend the film’s world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
How this helps you to gain insight into yours and others’ creativity
There are great insights to be had about the nature of the human spirit in the face of change and opportunity, even when there is nothing to lose and something to gain from participating. Plus, there’s an added bonus of a potential payoff from others.
Get your cameras ready…
To help you start planning for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21, 2011, here’s a copy of the presentation Tom McMillian, Megan Mitchell and I made at the World Futures Conference in Boston on July 10 entitled World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit.
We’d love to include your stories, photos, videos, web pages and logos in our upcoming presentations, so let us know what you’ve been up to and what you are planning. Help spread the word. Send your links, other info and questions to marci at creativityland.net.
Start talking up World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 at your work, school, club, community and get some plans together for something you can do a little differently, using new ideas, new decisions and a sprinkling of imagination to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too, without causing harm.
Just in case you haven’t seen this yet. Worth reading.
About 10 years ago, a similar headline appeared in Canada’s National Post newspaper, and, as a result, World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) was born. Celebrations began in 2002 and now cover the globe. It’s purpose is to engage and inspire people to use their creativity to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.
WCIW happens wherever you are. It’s grassroots, spread through word-of-mouth and is totally volunteer.
For further info see: www.worldcreativity.ca and the attached presentation document from the World Futures Society presentation: World Creativity and Innovation Week: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit.
Further contact @worldcreativity
Off to the World Futures Conference in Boston for the next few days to learn and contribute to what’s happening in the future, this year’s theme: Sustainable Futures, Strategies and Technologies.
Sparked by the notion that the future really depends on the people who make it happen, we’re presenting two sessions to emphasize the importance of how people feel when they engaged in using new thinking to make new decisions. One is a pre-conference all day workshop, the other a concurrent conference session.
Making the Covert Overt: Strategies to Sustain the Creative Human Spirit in Futures Planning
During this pre-conference session Megan Mitchell and I will be making the case that affect or emotion, influences people’s involvement in futures planning workshops and will show a variety of techniques to show the effectiveness of using a framework developed by Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef as a guide. The day long session provides:
World Creativity and Innovation Week: Sustaining the Global Human Spirit
This concurrent session provides insights into ways creativity can be actualized annually for the benefit of creating better futures. World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 (WCIW) began in Canada in 2001 and is celebrated in more than 43 countries. It’s grass roots, word-of-mouth, volunteer and it continues to grow.
Tom McMillian, Megan Mitchell and I present the rationale behind the celebration, its history and share examples of its positive influence citing examples from
celebrations from around the globe. Tom and Megan were heavily involved in Pfizer Consumer Health’s global celebration in 2006.
WCIW was created to encourage people to use their creativity to make the world a better place and to make their place in the world better too, without causing harm.
Our handout is attached – it highlights suggestions for planning ways to celebrate, how to get involved, and gives contact information.
Looking forward to blogging news from the future…